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Innovation Management - radical innovation

One of the common concepts in innovation is the idea of radical creativity. That innovation is only truly innovative if it is radical. But how do we define radical?

Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation.

There are other useful definitions in this field, for example, creativity can be defined as consisting of a number of ideas, a number of diverse ideas and a number of novel ideas.

There are distinct processes that enhance problem identification and idea generation and, similarly, distinct processes that enhance idea selection, development and commercialisation. Whilst there is no sure fire route to commercial success, these processes improve the probability that good ideas will be generated and selected and that investment in developing and commercialising those ideas will not be wasted.

Radical Innovation

One of the common concepts in innovation is the idea of radical creativity. That innovation is only truly innovative if it is radical. But how do we define radical?

Of the many definitions, one of the most useful is that of Liefer et al (2000):

a) An entirely new set of performance features.

b) Improvements in known performance features of fine times or greater.

c) A 30% or greater reduction in cost.

d) Changes the basis of competition (Sage, 2000).

Whilst creators often define their ideas as innovative, do they meet the above criteria?

But even if they do, is this enough?

Venture capitalists and due diligence are rarely concerned with whether a product is innovative or not. The more pertinent questions include:

a) What problem will it solve?

b) Does the end user believe that the product will solve the problem? What the creator thinks is unimportant. What the end user thinks is paramount.

These topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from

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Kal Bishop, MBA

You are free to reproduce this article as long as no changes are made and the author's name and site URL are retained.

Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on


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